• Kyodo News


An opposition-proposed bill designed to resume state welfare payments for single-parent households, which was terminated in April, cleared the House of Councilors Friday.

But the bill to amend the public assistance law is unlikely to clear the Diet because of the Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito ruling bloc, which controls the Lower House.

The bill, submitted by the Democratic Party of Japan and three other smaller opposition parties, states that the government will resume the payments for single-parent families in October, estimating the total annual costs at around ¥18 billion.

The government stopped paying the benefits in April, after scaling them down for families with children aged 16 to 18 since fiscal 2005 and those for families with children under 15 since fiscal 2007.

If the amendment is enacted, single-parent families in Tokyo, for example, will resume receiving about ¥23,000 a month, the same level they received before fiscal 2005.

In line with the termination, the government began providing such families with assistance and allowances to help them take vocational training courses and find jobs.

In mid-June, DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama hit Prime Minister Taro Aso for breaking off the payment, asking him, “If it (the state) has enough money to build a hall for cartoon art, why don’t you restore the benefits first?”

Hatoyama was referring to Aso’s plan to construct an exhibition hall featuring Japanese “manga” cartoons and “anime” animation culture that will cost the state about ¥11.7 billion. Aso is known as an avid fan of manga.

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